Thursday, January 13, 2011

How to Eat Healthier? Let's talk about Food Additive too

Guide: Oxidation (b) benzoyl, with an appearance of white or light yellow and shaped in thin cone, as well as tastes slightly bitter just like bitter almond. Oxidation (b) benzoyl is a strong oxidizer, unstable, combustible. Oxidation (b) benzoyl can play the role of bleaching and antiseptic on flour. And at the same time, calcium peroxide (a type of food additive) can also be used as a preservative.

The Ministry of Health is asking public opinion on a proposed ban on two flour whitening agents.

There has been public concern over the safety of the two food additives: benzoyl peroxide and calcium peroxide.

The ministry will seek public input until Dec 30. But an ongoing online poll by has shown that more than 90 percent of the 31 thousand respondents supported the ban.

Zhu Yi, associate professor at the Nutrition Engineering Institute at China Agricultural University says the two bleaching agents may pose health risks.

"Benzoyl peroxide and calcium peroxide are the main components of the bleaching agents. Benzoyl peroxide can create sodium benzoate during manufacturing process. This is an antiseptic and is confirmed to harmful to the liver. Plus, benzoyl peroxide is a medicine to treat skin disease. According to related laws, medicine is not allowed in food. In this aspect, it's inappropriate to use the additives. The oxidants could also damage flour's nutrients, such as beta-carotene."

Zhu Yi says, in some developed countries, food additives like benzoyl peroxide and calcium peroxide are allowed within limits.

"Benzoyl peroxide is banned in EU countries. But the US haven't put limits on using it. In Canada, there is a limit, about 150 milligram per kilogram. In China, the limit is 60 milligram per kilogram, lower than the standard. However, it's hard to make the dose equally distributed in products especially for some small- and medium-sized flour companies in rural areas. Those companies may easily overuse this additive. So, banning it is a reasonable choice."

Zhu Yi adds if more consumers prefer choosing the foods' original color and flavor, rather than buying something that looks neat and pretty, the food enterprises will have less incentive to use food additives.

Originally Posted: About Additive

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